ASHP Responds to Washington Post Series on Pharmaceutical Supply Chain
Fresh thinking is needed to address the regulatory and enforcement challenges presented by weaknesses in the nation's drug distribution system, ASHP Executive Vice President and CEO Henri R. Manasse, Jr., Ph.D., Sc.D., told the editors of the Washington Post in a recent letter. Manasse was responding to a five-day series entitled "Pharmaceutical Roulette" that looked at a variety of issues, including rouge Internet pharmacies, counterfeit medications, and the rise in U.S. consumers purchasing their medications in Canada and Mexico.
|October 23, 2003 |
TO THE EDITOR:
Kudos to the Washington Post for its important series of articles exposing the weaknesses of the nations drug distribution system (Pharmaceutical Roulette, October 19-23). Because a pharmacists primary responsibilities are to ensure the quality of the medicines patients use and the safe use of those products, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) has long been concerned about these serious threats to the health of Americans.
The worrisome problems of counterfeit and mislabeled medications, rogue Internet pharmacies that distribute narcotics freely to consumers, unregulated shadow markets, and porous borders with Canada and Mexico are extremely challenging and require fresh thinking if we are to find effective regulatory and enforcement solutions.
It is clear that because todays pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution system is truly global in scope, some solutions must transcend borders. The United States regulatory system can only do so much. We need cooperation among international agencies to help solve this problem.
Additionally, states should uniformly implement national standards for regulating the work of secondary wholesalers. This step would serve to prevent dishonest distributors from moving among states to avoid detection and prosecution.